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Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy and Mental Health


Knowing that the psychological well-being of cancer patients can have an impact on their physical condition, many researchers pay attention to the effects of various interventions on cancer patients’ mood. In her research, Lesiuk (2015) aims to define the effectiveness of an intervention that uses music as a tool to decrease stress in cancer patients and fulfil other purposes. The given paper is aimed at summarizing the results of the research and conducting a critical review of research findings reported by the author. Reviewing the mentioned article is important because the intervention studied by the researcher is expected to help women with breast cancer to cope with mental distress and, therefore, successfully adapt to new circumstances. Thus, the practical implications of the research chosen for the analysis are significant. In terms of the key information regarding the article, the researcher finds that the intervention is effective in cases of mood and attention problems of adult female cancer patients.

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Research Question

In her research, the author pays attention to specific mental health problems of adult women with breast cancer who are having chemotherapy. It is important that the research studies the effectiveness of the intervention in addressing two different problems that are common in cancer patients. Therefore, there are two research questions: as for the first one, it refers to the assumed ability of MBMT to improve various skills such as attention in cancer patients. To continue, the second research question identified by the author relates to the short-term impact that this intervention has on the mood of participants. Personally, I suppose that the choice of research questions is appropriate because many cancer patients experience mood swings and similar problems. Addressing them would help both patients and their relatives to minimize psychological suffering and speed up the recovery. Events and trends that have affected the choice of research questions include the prevalence of mood disorders in cancer patients that is discussed by many researchers in the field. For instance, Cirulli et al. (2015) list mood problems among the most important mental health consequences of surgical interventions and pharmacological therapy.

Research Design

In terms of the research design, the article under consideration presents the results of a quantitative descriptive study aimed at summarizing the information on the long and short-term effects of MBMT. The chosen research design is associated with numerous strengths such as clarity and the decreased impact of biases on final results. Apart from that, it is easier to replicate quantitative studies. When it comes to its weaknesses, the information reported by research participants is not always accurate. In addition, the limitations of such research designs include the inability to control other potential sources of changes in the behavior of participants (Choy, 2014). Despite that, it can be supposed that the particular research design was chosen from objectivity and clarity considerations.


When it comes to the population studied within the frame of the research, it includes adult women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and are receiving chemotherapy. The sample size often presents a factor that defines the practical implications of studies and the credibility of results. In the given case, the sample includes only fifteen participants from different age groups. At first sight, the sample size does not seem to be adequate to produce credible findings. Nevertheless, in order to answer this question, special attention should be paid to the particular type of study. As is indicated by the researcher, the article presents the results of a pilot experiment. Pilot studies are conducted to provide general knowledge on the effects of interventions and, therefore, prove the necessity of further studies in the field. Even though it is a pilot study, the number of participants may need to be increased to make the population more diverse. For instance, only two women with an early-stage breast cancer were included in the sample. In this connection, a noteworthy detail is that the researcher regards the sample size as a significant limitation.

Data Collection Methods

The data was collected by the author who is also the creator of the analyzed intervention (MBMT). In order to collect the data, two tools were used: the Conner’s Continuous Performance Test and the Profile of Mood States (Mesquita et al., 2016). These tools were used for data collection before and after individual MBMT sessions for cancer patients. No specific ethical considerations associated with the research process are mentioned by the author. As is clear from this gap, one more section may need to be added to the article.


The limitations acknowledged by the researcher are associated with two important factors. First, the sample size can decrease research credibility and flexibility. Due to the small sample, the effects of MBMT sessions in some groups of patients remain unexplored. Thus, only two patients with an early-stage breast cancer were included in the sample. As for other limitations within the study, they refer to the inability to include wait list control groups. Furthermore, it is possible that the research results are affected by some variables that were not controlled (the duration of chemotherapy cycles, etc.). To overcome these limitations in subsequent studies, it is necessary to increase the sample size and compare the test scores of individuals who have and do not have MBMT sessions. Also, it will be possible to divide research participants into groups based on the duration of chemotherapy. The above-mentioned limitations need to be discussed because they can pose a threat to the credibility of subsequent studies.


The findings reported in the study indicate that the positive impact on MBMT sessions on patients’ attention and mood is significant. Also, the researcher claims that the use of this experimental tool can be effective for those patients with breast cancer who report tiredness and exhaustion. The reported findings fully answer the research questions identified prior to conducting experiments. Considering the accuracy of presented data, these findings seem to be credible when it comes to the particular population that has been studied. On the whole, the findings align with the research questions and are based on the collected data.

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Having reviewed the essential components of the paper, one can ensure that the quality of the research is appropriate. The research design allows conducting statistical analysis to define the significance of changes caused by the intervention and, therefore, provide adequate answers to research questions. Also, only proven tools for measuring attention and mood swings were chosen by the researcher. However, there are certain limitations related to the sample size and extraneous factors that need to be eliminated to provide more credible findings in the future studies. The findings align with the research questions and are well-structured, and it makes the information in the research article easier to comprehend. In terms of the practical implications, MBMT sessions and their short and long-term effects may need to be studied more thoroughly prior to their implementation into common practice. In particular, it will be necessary to identify the groups of patients whose attention skills and mood do not change significantly due to the tool under analysis. In the end, the article is an example of a good pilot study that provides accurate results despite essential limitations associated with this type of research.


Choy, L. T. (2014). The strengths and weaknesses of research methodology: Comparison and complimentary between qualitative and quantitative approaches. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 19(4), 99-104.

Cirulli, F., Capoccia, S., Berry, A., Raggi, C., Vomero, M. A., Ortona, E.,… Pugliese, P. (2015). Increased cortisol secretion, immune activation and mood changes in breast cancer patients following surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy. European Psychiatry, 30, 1510.

Lesiuk, T. (2015). The effect of mindfulness-based music therapy on attention and mood in women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer: A pilot study. Oncology Nursing Forum, 42(3), 276-282.

Mesquita, C., Nazar, B. P., Pinna, C. M., Rabelo, B., Serra-Pinheiro, M. A., Sergeant, J., & Mattos, P. (2016). How can Continuous Performance Test help to assess inattention when mood and ADHD symptoms coexist? Psychiatry Research, 243, 326-330.

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